The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Children’s Book Clubs Part 1

Book Clubs: I’ve mentioned before that I’ve run book clubs at my school. In the past I’ve run various types of clubs from literature circles to family book clubs to Newbery Clubs. I love the variety and challenge each type provides. I enjoy hearing parents monitor/manage book clubs but I find the most powerful book clubs have been when my students grow up with book clubs, beginning in 3rd grade with 5th grade leaders managing the discussions. Running book clubs at first was a steep learning curve to figure out what style worked for me with each type that I was facilitating. Now, I think it is more second nature for me to run a book club. So I have to slow down and figure out what I really do to run the different book clubs.

I already blogged about book clubs a few times, one on my Staff Online Book Club which was fun to run this year: and one on my Student Library Advisory club:  This time, I’ll focus on how I run my after-school book clubs:

1. I begin them in January as I run a pretty intense weekly lunch book club until then celebrating the Newbery Award.

2. Reach out to students in 3rd-5th grade, application to be signed by parents since they have to pick up the students 45 minutes after school is out. Also, encourage parent participation for group management and discussion. (I used to have the meetings go for a full hour but learned that 45 minutes is plenty for snacks, discussions, and transitions.)

3. Meet in the library, prepare snacks– they are very important- seriously, send reminder notes to students and parents, create group assignments (if 15+ students participating, create 3 or more groups with 5th grade leaders in each group), and plan out book selection suggested lists.

4. Meet in small groups, discuss with specific students if they need to move to different groups. Sometimes I assign a book to read before the first meeting but I’ve found that if the groups form THEN name their team and select their first two book selections that there is more investment.

5. Create a calendar with students and parents that has us meet every 3-4 weeks through June AND assigns different student teams to bring snacks with parent approval.

6. End the first meeting.

7. Then check out books selected to the students (often I’ve had to Inter-Library Loan the books from other schools in my area or ask students to provide their own copy they get at the public library or purchase). After the initial meeting, I plan in advance before the next meeting so that I can pass out the next book selection at the end of discussion. Also, I generate discussion questions about the selected books. Before I write them, I go to my absolutely favorite source:  They have over 150 of the  BEST book discussion questions and often if I’m overloaded, I use their universal questions which are relevant to almost any book discussion.

8. Run the meetings and move between different groups to hear discussions, help guide discussions reminding students about general agreements (happy to blog about this on another post if people wish) and help 5th grade leaders and parents manage the club discussion in an efficient, fun, and interesting way.

Here’s the basics on what my book club did this year:
Ridgewood Library After-School Book Club: Celebrate our reading!  Congratulations to our three groups on finishing these books since January:
The Bookmarks: Books Read: 11 Birthdays, NERDS, Shiloh, 13 Gifts
Triple R’s: Books Read: Alvin Ho, 11 Birthdays, Ramona’s World, The Magician’s Elephant
Purple Singing Washing Machines: Books Read: Diary of a Wimpy Kid- Cabin Fever, The Name of this Book is Secret, Shakespeare’s Secret, Seer of Shadows

Here are the favorite titles recommended by book club members during our last meeting: During our final meeting students and parents were asked to share a favorite book or series. They either just talked about the book, prepared powerpoint presentations about the book, shared a webpage, or showed a book trailer.

Mrs. Alvarez (The Styling Librarian) Recommends: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Wonder by R.J. Palacio – I describe these two book treasures as ones that I would bring if I had to choose two to be stuck on an island with… I’ll be bringing them to Hong Kong when we move in a month along with one other treasure- Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai.

A few parents recommended books: The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester; King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by Howard Pyle, and The End of the Beginning by Avi

My wonderful book club students shared a large variety of books which always is fun and opens my eyes to books I didn’t realize they enjoyed as much as they did, etc. I especially appreciated having 3rd grade share their favorites, many were Warriors series books and then also a solid group of 5th graders shared their love of The Hunger Games.

Here’s their list:  13 Gifts by Wendy Mass; My Sister is a Vampire- Love Bites by Sienna Mercer; The Candymakers by Wendy Mass;  Kane Chronicles – Serpents Shadow by Rick Riordan; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling;  Divergent by Veronica Roth; Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli;  A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz; Warriors: The Darkest Hour by Erin Hunter;  Warriors: The Dangerous Path by Erin Hunter; The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins; The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter; Small Steps- The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret; The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick; The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare; Pushcart War by Jean Merrill; I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore; Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin which connects him to: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper; Attack of the Vampire Weenies by David Lubar

My next book club post will be specifically on Mother Daughter Book Clubs, probably will be posted quite soon. I’ll include professional books I referred to when beginning running the clubs in the first place! Stay Tuned!

Another blogger shared their link that collects numerous ideas and resources and I thought I’d share it here:

Thank you to everyone for following me by email (please see link above), on Facebook– I post some resources I think are useful, and Twitter. I’m so honored to be followed by family, friends, colleagues, students, community members, teacher librarians, educators, and others all over the globe. Thank you!!

4 comments on “Styling Librarian: Children’s Book Clubs Part 1

  1. Pingback: Styling Librarian: What are you reading? « The Styling Librarian

  2. Pingback: Styling Librarian: Technology Resources Shared for June 2012 « The Styling Librarian

  3. Pingback: Styling Librarian: Author Interview: Cindy Hudson « The Styling Librarian

  4. Pingback: Styling Librarian: Children’s Book Club Part 2 | The Styling Librarian

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This entry was posted on June 16, 2012 by in Blog, Books, Parenting, School Librarian Resources and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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